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The BBC's Mark Devenport in New York
"The international community wants Yugoslavia back in the fold"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 05:45 GMT
UN embraces Yugoslavia
Kostunica with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg
President Kostunica (left) is bringing Yugoslavia out of isolation
By UN correspondent Mark Devenport

The UN Security Council has unanimously endorsed Yugoslavia's application to re-join the United Nations.

Belgrade hasn't had a vote at the UN since 1992 because of a dispute over its right to take over the seat belonging to the old Yugoslav Federation.


Eight years of sterile, stupid argument over Yugoslav membership in the United Nations is over

US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke
If Slobodan Milosevic had still been the president in Belgrade, any Yugoslav application for membership of the UN would have provoked a heated debate in the Security Council, with a series of countries queuing up to demand full co-operation with the UN's war crimes tribunal.

But in a sign of how eager the international community is to welcome the new Yugoslav government into its ranks, the latest application from Belgrade was processed at top speed.

And with no country raising any objection, the Security Council endorsed the application without a formal vote.

The application is now due to go to the organisation's General Assembly for its approval on Wednesday afternoon New York time.

'Great day'

Afterwards, the US Ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke, sounded jubilant.

Slobodan Milosevic
UN membership would have been problematic under Mr Milosevic
"This is a great day for democracy, in the Balkans, in Europe, and a great day for the United Nations," he said.

"Eight years of sterile, stupid argument over Yugoslav membership in the United Nations is over.

"That terrible flag of Tito's flying on First Avenue comes down. It's a tremendous day."

Warm endorsement

The flag of Marshal Tito, the symbol of the old Yugoslav Federation, will now be hauled down from outside the United Nations headquarters and the flag of the new Yugoslavia put in its place.

The admission has yet to be approved by the General Assembly but that will be a formality, with Belgrade's once hostile neighbours - Croatia and Bosnia - warmly endorsing the application.

Bosnia's UN ambassador, Mohammed Sacirbey, said it was important that Yugoslavia should fully co-operate with the UN war crimes tribunal, which has indicted former President Milosevic.

But whilst many others echo that view, no UN member state wants the question marks over the tribunal to hinder Belgrade's return to the fold.

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See also:

20 Oct 00 | Europe
Belgrade changes worry Kosovo
19 Oct 00 | Europe
Serbia's unfinished revolution
19 Oct 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia to join security body
16 Oct 00 | Europe
Deal breaks Serbia deadlock
27 Oct 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia seeks return to UN
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